El Shaddai is first used in Genesis 17:1 when God made a covenant with Abram to give him a son in his old age.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Genesis 17:1-2
The actual translation of El is might or power. There seems to be some division about the meaning of the word Shaddai. Some interpret it to refer to God's power in His judgments, but another definition is breasted. This refers to the power of God displayed as He provides all that is needed for nurturing, supplying, and satisfying.
El Shaddai is the One for whom nothing is impossible. It is His might or power combined with His Love and desire to care for and bless his children. Until the time of Moses, El Shaddai was considered the covenant Name of God. It refers to the One who initiates and maintains a covenant with His people as He did with Abram. El Shaddai not only initiates the covenant, but He accomplishes it in His power and not by any effort on our part.
One thing I found interesting is that it is at the time of His covenant with Abram, that God changed Abram's name to Abraham, and Sarai's name to Sarah. In doing this He added the Hebrew letter He ה which is the chief letter of His own Name, Jehovah, which produces the sound of out-breathing. Kay points out that this is like giving something of His own nature to Abraham communicating a channel of blessing to many others.
Shaddai occurs 48 times throughout the Bible, 31 of those occurrences are found in the book of Job. This is the Name of the One who sustains us.
How does the Name El Shaddai speak to me?
The first time I ever heard this Name, it was defined The God Who is Enough. El Shaddai is the one who fills my deepest longings. Not necessarily by giving me what I long for, although He might, but by giving me Himself. When El Shaddai fills me with Himself, I am filled, I am completely satisfied, all other longings fade behind the abundant sufficiency of this satisfaction. El Shaddai is the One I run to when my world is crumbling around me, when I am completely spent, and when there is no possible way in my circumstances.
But his bow remained taut, and his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. May the God of your father help you; May the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and blessings of the watery depths below, and blessings of the breasts and womb. Genesis 49:24-25
"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? Job 11:7
How does the Name El Shaddai speak to you?
"A girl needs to be so lost in God, that the guy is going to have to seek HIM to find her!" ...Maya Angelou